The 39th Kyodan General Assembly was held Oct. 28-30 at the Ikebukuro Metropolitan Hotel, with 374 of the 400 delegates attending. There were also 13 overseas guests in attendance. The theme was “Building a Kyodan that Evangelizes: Promoting Evangelism Rooted in a Unified Faith.” The first part of the program was opening worship, with Nishi-Chiba Church Pastor Kishita Nobuyo giving a message entitled “Putting Our Hope Only in the Lord.” The business meeting began with the approval of the agenda, followed by the moderator’s report. Kyodan Moderator Ishibashi Hideo reported on the various issues of main importance to the Kyodan as “an evangelizing Kyodan, the number one mission of the church”: funds for evangelism, the nurture of pastors, the church’s statement on the nuclear incident, and the statement issued by the International Conference on the East Japan Disaster, the Kyodan’s relationship with Okinawa District, and the Japan Christian Center building.
The election process for the three main officers, which started on the evening of the first day, began with the election of the moderator, and Moderator Ishibashi Hideo, pastor of Koshigaya Church, Kanto District was elected for a third term. In his greetings he said, “I take my reelection seriously, and I will seek to promote a Kyodan ablaze with evangelism—evangelism based on a unified faith.” In the election of vice-moderator that followed, delegate Sasaki Michio, pastor of Shizuoka Church, Tokai District was elected. This is the second time that Sasaki has been elected consecutively as vice-moderator since the 36th General Assembly. As is the custom for the election of secretary, the moderator and vice-moderator nominated the present secretary, Kumoshikari Toshimi, pastor of Akita Sakura Church, Ou District and those in the assembly hall approved his election. In his greetings, Secretary Kumoshikari said, “During my two terms of four years, I have been shown that the Kyodan is supported by the prayers of various churches and by the prayers of overseas churches. Furthermore, I want to relay the thoughts of those serving in rural areas and those in small-membership churches to the entire Kyodan. I want to share with the entire Kyodan that the rural churches are cheerfully evangelizing as rural churches.”
Among the agenda items this time, the focus was on “the Bill for Abolishing the Kyodan Subsidies for District Activities.” The various views in favor of the abolishment included the opinions that “there is no official place for reporting the finances and the concrete usage of the subsidies” and “district activities as such have become unclear, and we want to switch over to a new system in order to realize actual district activities.” Opposition to the bill included the view that “if Kyodan subsidies for district activities are abolished, this will be linked to the abolishment of many churches.” Other such views were expressed, but as finally voted, it was decided to abolish the Kyodan subsidies for district activities. This was accepted, and the “Bill on the Institution of Rules for Evangelism Funds” was introduced. During the consultation, revised bills were put forth by two members, resulting in the vote to approve the revised bill proposed by delegate Omura Sakae.
Since the 35th General Assembly, a fellowship event for the laity has been held after the completion of business on the second day, but at this general assembly, a meeting was held under the title “Reorganization of the National Laity Organization.” The National Laity Organization had lost its true nature due to the Kyodan’s internal dispute in 1969. This time, the National Laity Organization was reorganized after 45 years, through being “One in the Lord” and a “mutual fellowship of believers,” and has as its goal contributing to the promotion of the Kyodan’s Gospel evangelism. Its general assembly will be held the year between each biennial Kyodan General Assembly. (Tr. RT)
—Kato Makoto, executive secretary
今回の議案の中での焦点は「教区活動連帯金Kyodan Subsidies for District Activitiesを廃止する件」であった。